Actor-comedian Kevin Hart will host 2019 Oscars

In this Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, Kevin Hart arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" in Los Angeles. (AP)
Updated 05 December 2018
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Actor-comedian Kevin Hart will host 2019 Oscars

  • Hart announced his selection for the 91st Oscars in an Instagram statement
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed up with a tweet that welcomed him “to the family”

LOS ANGELES: Kevin Hart has a new job — he will host the 2019 Academy Awards, a role the prolific actor-comedian says fulfills a longtime dream.
Hart announced his selection for the 91st Oscars in an Instagram statement Tuesday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed up with a tweet that welcomed him “to the family.”
The announcement came hours after trade publication The Hollywood Reporter posted a story calling the Oscars host position “the least wanted job in Hollywood.”
Hart clearly doesn’t feel that way, writing on Instagram that it has been on his list of dream jobs for years. The 2019 Oscars will be broadcast Feb. 24 on ABC.
“I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time...To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced this stage is unbelievable,” Hart wrote. “I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.
“I will be sure to make sure this years Oscars are a special one,” Hart wrote.
Hart takes over hosting duties from Jimmy Kimmel, who presided over the last two ceremonies, including 2016’s flub that resulted in the wrong best picture winner being announced. Last year’s ceremony was an all-time ratings low, and the film academy has announced a series of changes to the upcoming show.
Those include shortening the broadcast to three hours, and also presenting certain categories during commercial breaks and broadcasting excerpts of those winners’ speeches later in the show.
The 39-year-old Hart has become a bankable star with films such as “Ride Along,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Night School.”
Celebrities including Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock, who hosted the ceremony in 2005 and 2016, posted congratulatory messages about Hart’s selection Tuesday night.
“Damn I’ve lost another job to Kevin Hart,” Rock posted on Instagram, echoing a joke he told during his 2016 opening monologue. “They got the best person for the job.”


Creative group in the UAE gives female artists a chance to tell their story

Jana Ghalayini’s work at Art Dubai invited visitors to draw on their responses.
Updated 12 min 32 sec ago
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Creative group in the UAE gives female artists a chance to tell their story

  • Female-led art collective wants society to rethink the way women of color are perceived
  • Banat Collective publishes artworks in print and online and hosts events to encourage debate

DUBAI: Sara bin Safwan founded the Banat Collective in 2016 to connect with other like-minded people, championing
their art through the group’s website, banatcollective.com.
The group aims to help society to rethink the way women of color are perceived by showcasing contemporary art, poetry and other writings. The collective publishes artistic works in print and online and hosts events aimed at spreading awareness and encouraging debate.
“A lot of the artists are young and emerging and never had the chance to be either exhibited or publicized, so we interview them to offer a critical, insightful look at their work,” said Safwan, 25.


Now an assistant curator at Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Safwan graduated from London’s world-famous Central Saint Martins college in 2015 with a degree in culture, criticism and curation.
It was while studying in Britain that she developed a keen interest in post-colonial theory; the Banat Collective focuses on themes relating to both womanhood and intersectionality, which is an analytic framework to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those most marginalized in society.
“The mission is not only to connect artists but open up discussions about Arab womanhood in the region, because there’s not necessarily any other place to do so. We do that through art, poetry and other writings,” Safwan said.
“I use the word ‘womanhood’ to make it a more accessible term because if I use ‘feminism,’ it’s a very politically charged word that has almost been tainted by Western ideologies. And those Western ideologies don’t necessarily fit within our context as Middle Easterners.”
“In the Middle of it All” is the collective’s debut publication. Released in 2018, the book is a 31-artist collaboration of visual art, writing and poetry. Our book is a means to help us stand out — it’s thoughtfully curated and tackles a specific issue, which is ‘coming of age’,” she says.
“It’s a notion that’s taboo in the Arab world and either unheard of or misunderstood. It was a chance for female artists to tell their own story.
“Throughout the book, we go through many topics such as puberty, identity, sexual harassment and abuse, sisterhood, motherhood, beauty standards and all these other societal expectations.”
The collective held its first exhibition as part of March’s Art Dubai fair, showcasing a short film, “Ivory Stitches & Saviors” by member Sarah Alagroobi, which she describes as an “unflinching glimpse into identity, colonialism and whitewashing.”
Says Safwan: “It’s a tribute to all women of color who have been marginalized and, all too often, erased.”
Another work by Palestinian-Canadian artist Jana Ghalayini is comprised of a 26-meter-long piece of chiffon on which visitors can draw with chalk pastels in response to questions posed by the artist including “How does your environment affect your identity?”
Safwan adds: “The themes we explored were vulnerability and community — it was a way to introduce ourselves in person because previously we only had an online presence.”
Born and raised in the UAE to Honduran and Emirati parents, Safwan is now working with Alagroobi and Ghalayini to brainstorm ideas for future projects that include a podcast series on the notion of shame. The collective is self-funded and run by volunteers.
“I hope there will be more opportunities to showcase our work and collaborate with others. This year, we will be publishing more content,” Safwan said.

This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of The Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.